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Eliminated Isles display ‘Pride’ in Ottawa

Ladd’s game-winner lifts New York to 4-3 victory over Senators

March 28, 2018 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Andrew Ladd’s late goal in Ottawa Tuesday night helped the Islanders salvage some pride following their mathematical elimination from playoff contention Monday night in Brooklyn. AP Photo by Jay LaPrete
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Pride still matters to the New York Islanders despite their recent elimination from playoff contention.

Andrew Ladd scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with just over two minutes remaining in regulation Tuesday night as the Islanders pulled out a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators in front of 15,284 fans at the Canadian Tire Center.

Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson also had goals for New York, which was mathematically knocked out of the postseason chase Monday night at Barclays Center against the Florida Panthers.

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“As athletes we want to win, we hate losing so we want to compete, we want to go out there and work hard do the right thing,” noted Beauvillier, who potted his 17th goal of the year early in the second period to knot the contest at 2-2.

“It’s about pride, it’s about playing for us and it’s about feeling good about ourselves.”

There haven’t been many good feelings around the Isles’ locker room of late.

The Brooklyn-based NHL franchise won for just the third time in its last 17 contests, a mind-numbing slump that dropped it out of serious playoff consideration weeks ago.

But buoyed by the continued stellar play of super rookie Mathew Barzal, who picked up two assists Tuesday, including one on Ladd’s decisive tally, the Isles found a way to get off the deck and play a solid 60 minutes north of the border.

“It was a good road win,” Isles head coach Doug Weight said.

“We had to weather some storms, they put a lot of pucks on the net and had some pretty good power-play looks, but we managed to hold on.”

Jaroslav Halak stood tall in net for most of the evening, making 33 saves. But Bobby Ryan threatened to deprive New York of a two-point night when his centering attempt with just under five minutes left got deflected and slithered through Halak’s legs to forge a 3-3 deadlock.

The Isles struck back just over two minutes later when Ladd redirected a shot by veteran defenseman Thomas Hickey past Ottawa goalie Mike Condon at the 17:57 mark to close out the scoring and provide a rare upbeat feeling for a squad that has been steadily beaten down during the past several weeks.

“Obviously a tough bounce on their last [goal],” said Ladd. “We wanted to find a way to answer back and win in regulation.”

Lee rang up his 39th goal of the campaign on the power play at 6:15 of the opening stanza and Nelson scored with 1:18 remaining in the second period to give New York a 3-2 lead.

“It was a little scrambly game, but we kept fighting and it was good to see [Ladd] get the winner,” Weight noted.

With only four games remaining on the slate, the Isles do have at least something to look forward to in the postseason, namely a pair of individual honors that might be coming their way.

Barzal, a leading candidate for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top scoring first-year player, upped his assist total to 58, surpassing the rookie totals of NHL legends Mario Lemieux and (57) and Teemu Selanne (56).

Also, veteran forward Josh Bailey, fresh off signing a new long-term deal to remain with the only NHL franchise he has ever known, was nominated for the league’s Masterson Trophy, given to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

Bailey, who has posted career highs of 18 goals and 51 assists in his 10th year with the organization, was inked to a six-year contract extension last month.

The Isles can savor this rare winning feeling for a couple of days before returning to action Friday night here against Toronto.

Isle Have Another: After missing the previous 22 games with a lower-body injury, defenseman Scott Mayfield returned to the lineup Tuesday night in Ottawa, blocking three shots and earning a plus-1 rating in his first game action since Feb. 5. “It felt good to be back out there,” Mayfield said. “I wanted to make sure I was going into summer with the right mindset and know that I can play and that it’s getting healthy and that it feels pretty good out there.”  Added Weight of Mayfield, “He was moving well, he was aggressive he was making hard plays and for the most part kept it pretty simple. It was more of what we saw in the progression he’s made over the last year.”… Veteran blue-liners Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk both sat out Tuesday’s game due to being “a little banged up”, according to Weight, who didn’t want to push them into playing with the Isles having been eliminated from the playoffs for the second straight season. Team captain John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Tanner Fritz and Adam Pelech each added one assist against the Senators.


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